Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My Three Favorite Books About Drumming, Ever.

 I'm no book reviewer, but I've always liked to read and I've always liked to play the drums (well, that came a while after the reading).  Lucky for me, they even have books about drumming, fancy that! With a quick holler to the Drumchattr crew and their summer book club that got my brain on the matter, I give you three drumming books that really brought it, each in their own special way.

The Percussionist's Art, by Steven Schick 

I read this one while working on a master's degree in Austin and was taken by its versatility and usefulness.  The book, written by legendary percussionist Steven Schick, offers intelligent and engaging anecdotes and philosophies about the author's journey into the then mostly uncharted world of "modern percussion" and serves as an invaluable performance resource for those attempting to play (or simply learn about) a number pieces written for and performed by the author.  Oh, and it comes with a CD of Schick rocking a good number of the music discussed at length in the book.  Basically, the guy who wrote the book on modern solo percussion playing has actually written the book on solo percussion playing, and it is equal parts smart, interesting, and enlightening.

Drumming at the Edge of Magic, by Mickey Hart.

This book found me (as some books do) during my freshman year of college, given to me by a hippie friend's hippie father.  Incidentally, those of the second generation are the only hippies my age I can get behind.  I prefer an apple fallen close to the tree to dreadlocked trustafarians in Northface parkas, but I digress, as always.  Mickey Hart is best known for drumming with Grateful Dead but his book, written with ethnomusicologist Jay Stevens, covers a broad range of times and places encompassing the supernatural, ritualistic, militaristic, and rock and roll applications of The Drum.  Above all, Hart expresses a true reverence not only for drumming and rhythm but also a drummer's opportunity to tap into something more powerful than him or herself.  It's his genuine love and appreciation of this stuff that carries the book, and all its winding stories with it.

Who is Bugs Potter?, by Gordon Korman

This book is the one.  It's the reason I started playing the drums, simple as that.  Why, you ask? Please...  It's about a kid named Bugs Potter that goes to Toronto for Canada's version of All State band, sneaks out of his dormitory every night in disguise to get into rock clubs, sits in on the drums with his favorite heavy metal bands, blows peoples minds with his drumming skillz, and becomes a sensation ALL THE WHILE  making sure no one at band camp is the wiser except his "flute guy" roommate who tags along to keep Bugs from getting mobbed by fans.  You try reading this in elementary school and not becoming a drummer. I dare you. You would fail. How this is not required primary school reading I'll never know...
I tell you what, I haven't thought about this book in years, but now that I might explain a lot.

So there you have it, three awesome books about drumming. What are your favorite books about drumming or music, kids?  Read on, readers.